A Druid’s thoughts on Haiyan and the COP19 catastrophe:
For those of us who practice embodied religions embedded in place, in sacred embodiment, in immanence our traditions are quite literally under attack as powerful global forces obstruct doing anything significant about global warming. The so-called COP19 (United Nations Climate Change Conference) is winding down in Warsaw, Poland in spectacular failure. Many vulnerable nations, many of them islands like the beautiful archipelago of the Philippines, reeling from the aftermath of super-typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda or the small Republic of the Marshall Islands whose airport is now under water at high tide are already bearing the knife edge of the changing and rapidly deteriorating human-made climate changes. Unsurprisingly, developing countries are over-proportionally dealing with the destruction and were told they cannot expect compensation by powerful nations at the conference, including the U.S., Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Canada.
To call attention to the direness of the situation the Filipino representative went on a fast.
The US, accounting for at least one-fourth of cumulative emissions, has a huge responsibility, a moral responsibility, to tackle climate change, not just to address it domestically, but also to be able to provide support for developing countries.
Typhoon Haiyan‘s destruction provides a grim backdrop to the negotiations in Warsaw. Yeb Sano learned that his brother survived only by seeing him on a news report, helping to collect the dead. The science is clear: with increasing temperatures, extreme weather events will become more frequent and more deadly. After Sano announced his fast in an emotional address to the plenary, several students silently walked with him as he exited, holding a banner commemorating the dead in the Philippines. For this spontaneous act of solidarity, they were banned from the climate proceedings, for a year. One of the banned, Clemence Hutin from Paris, told me, “I don’t understand why civil society isn’t welcome here and corporations are.”
The hosting country Poland gets approximately 90% of its energy needs from coal, and trumpeted coal as the energy source of the future. A rather hellish future that would be. So many ecosystems are already severely at risk from the Arctic to estuaries to coral reefs (warming water increases the acidification that threatens all marine animals and plants with calcareous shells). From polar bears to gelada monkeys many keystone species are currently threatened as their habitat disappears as the temperature increases. We do to remember that countless sacred sites will vanish under the waters if carbon emissions are not controlled. The politics of disenchantment continues waging war on our planet where one out of four mammal species now is threatened with extinction and one half of flowering plants.
In the meantime 4 million people remain homeless in the central Philippines. And speaking of that country I want to mention a delightful Filipino Hellenist blog Under Two Trees. Lots of links there on where you can send a little to help the people devastated by the super-tycoon (or give to Doctors Without Borders). Small contributions add up, as they say. http://undertwotrees.wordpress.com/